StartUp in Nijmegen - Mauricio Bustamante Ayarza of Data Origins

At the start of the pandemic, Mauricio Bustamente Ayarza and Dyon J. Pacheco realized that the catering industry could use their help. They seized the opportunity and started up Data Origins, a company to help restaurant owners cut costs. As expat enterpreneurs, they soon met with a language barrier and the Dutch directness. “But other than that, the Netherlands is a great place to start a company.”

Mauricio and Dyon met at Radboud University, where they both completed their bachelor’s degree in International Business Administration and Business Economics respectively. Mauricio had come to the Netherlands from Costa Rica, Dyon came over from Canada. “We were in the same boat, even though we are so different. Dyon is more of an introvert, I’m more expressive. When we saw the catering industry nearly collapsing in May 2020, Data Origins became our common goal”, says Mauricio.

Making a difference

By combining Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Big Data Analytics, the men map out how much a restaurant is going to sell in the next two weeks. This helps restaurant owners to make a good planning and save costs. “We didn’t always want to be entrepreneurs. The idea just came to life, so we went for it. Dyon and I complement each other perfectly: he thinks before he acts, and I act before I think. A perfect match”, Mauricio smiles.

“Having your own company allows you to develop our own ideas and initiatives. That’s the biggest advantage. In that respect, we might have had a bit of entrepreneurial spirit within us all along”, says Mauricio. “The fact that Dyon and I are so different sometimes causes discussions. But we have a common goal and appreciate each other’s qualities. We came to a point where we are now working in harmony.”

Language barrier versus countless possibilities

As expat entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, Mauricio and Dyon encountered a challenge with the language: “Especially around Nijmegen and Arnhem, we find that it is hard to communicate when people don’t speak English. We would love to improve our Dutch. It would give us the opportunity to use metaphors in conversations, create a stronger connection, and to feel at home. That is now our biggest challenge: really making connections with people. At the moment, we meet someone and it is always just about business. So we’re practising our Dutch to remove that barrier.”

The Dutch bluntness also took some getting used to. “People here are not afraid to speak their mind or say: I don’t understand what you’re saying. It is too complex. That was quite demotivating in the beginning”, Mauricio laughs. “But it has a good side: because you immediately know where you are at.” Mauricio appreciates getting to grow his business in the Netherlands. “We get so many opportunities here”, he says. “The system in the Netherlands creates opportunities for everyone. Even successful people make sure to let others thrive too. That makes this country a great place to set up our business. And the Dutch are great, loyal business partners: you really enter into a relationship.”

Personal touch

Along with his goal to learn about the Dutch language and culture, Mauricio hopes to leave a personal touch to the company: “In general, the Dutch are risk avoiders. I’m fan of doing business assertively and dreaming big. Embracing the risks you are taking, provides peace of mind. That is what I have learned from my own expressive culture. I think that is what sets us apart.”

Mauricio and Dyon are getting help from the StartUp Nijmegen and Mercator Launch networks in shaping their company: “The StartUp community is so helpful and attentive. They give us plenty of compliments and provide advice and support whenever necessary. That was especially helpful at the start, when we had no idea what we were getting into and were overwhelmed with everything that comes with entrepreneurship.” According to Mauricio, using a large network is essential for success. “In the beginning, we went door-to-door to introduce people to our concept. That was uncomfortable and one of our less successful experiments”, he chuckles.

They did find ways to make things work, and their business is thriving. “We now have a team of five and are getting more and more customers. We hope to expand to other countries and industries in the future.”

StartUp Nijmegen

In this blog series, The Life Net and StartUp Nijmegen like to show what an attractive region Nijmegen is to start and establish as an entrepreneur. It spotlights various internationals or companies that attract internationals. They like to share their inspiring story about how they started and grew with their business. Check StartUp Nijmegen for how they pay attention to this.